MVP submits highest bid for Calax
MANUEL V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is set to bag the 45.5-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) deal after submitting a surprise aggressive offer in a rebidding exercise for the public-private partnership (PPP) project that edged out rival San Miguel Corp.
Bidding results at the Department of Public Works and Highways showed that Metro Pacific’s MPCALA Holdings offered a premium payment of P27.3 billion— against San Miguel Holdings Corp.’s offer of P22.2 billion— for the right to build and operate Calax for a period of 30 years.
The premium amount, to be paid on a staggered basis, comes on top of the tollroad’s P35.4-billion construction cost.
It was also more than double the P11.33 billion that MPIC, which controls the country’s biggest electricity retailer and its largest chain of private hospitals, offered in last year’s auction for the same project.
Ramoncito Fernandez, president of tollroad arm Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., said MPIC had more time to consider new indicators on the pace of development in Cavite and Laguna, car sales as well as the lower cost of commodities.
“We are very happy with this development. We always wanted to have a major toll road in the south,” Metro Pacific president Jose Ma. K. Lim said during the same event Tuesday.
MPIC already operates the 14-km Cavite Manila Expressway in southern Metro Manila apart from North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) north of the capital.
The bidding result also implied a massive windfall for the government and underscored the intense competition for assets being bid out under the flagship PPP program of the Aquino administration.
“It’s worth the wait. The results say everything went perfectly all right for the government and for the country,” Rafael Yabut, chair of the DPWH bids and awards committee, said in an interview.
The initial round had failed after President Aquino ordered a rebid late last year after San Miguel sought Malacañang’s intervention following its disqualification over a typographical error on the date of its bid bond.
San Miguel had offered P20.1 billion last year—the basis of a floor price that the DPWH had included in the current rebid exercise. The tandem between Ayala Corp. and a unit of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.—last year’s frontrunner with an offer of P11.66 billion—did not participate in the current auction while the MTD Group of Malaysia also did not participate again.
The DPWH expects the Calax project to be awarded by next month. It is expected to be fully completed by 2020, PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said.
The Calax will be four-lane expressway that will also connect Cavitex and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) of San Miguel.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.